Archive for the ‘Kit’ Category

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It was an unseasonably cold winter in Miami. My pre dawn rides regularly saw temperatures in the 40’s. But no worries, my Ground Effect Baked Alaska jersey made cold and cool weather riding a pleasure. Good in temperatures up to 68F and when paired with the right weight base layer good right down to freezing.

The Baked Alaska is similar in concept to the Assos Intermediate Evo jersey but in natural blend fiber and at a fraction of the price. A wind stopper WindFoil™ fleece front panel keeps the chill from penetrating your core while Ground Effect’s soft breathable Heatwave Merino blend keeps you from overheating.

New Zealand based Ground Effect describes their Heatwave Merino as: A bi-component knit combining 62% merino wool and 38% polyester. The unrivalled properties of superfine 18.5 micron New Zealand merino wicks sweat away from your skin while the polyester provides a durable, non-pill outer. The polyester also repels moisture which avoids total saturation of the fabric – helping it to dry faster than 100% merino.

The combination works brilliantly in a wide range of temperatures. The jersey has two back pockets with zippers that have easy to grab tabs. The long sleeves are long enough to come over my gloves even with my long arms and have a loop that when pulled over your gloved thumb will keep the wind from blowing up your sleeves. Finally Ground Effect sews a tire patch into the back pocket for emergencies. A cute touch that didn’t survive the first wash. The jersey however looks like new after a season of hard use. Fit is closer to US then Euro cycling apparel.

A proper base layer extends the temperature range of the Baked Alaska right down to freezing. Icebreaker (another NZ apparel company) makes merino wool base layers in 3 weights (150g/m2, 200g/m2, 260g/m2) that are a perfect complement to your Baked Alaska, allowing you to tune your kit to match the weather.

At about $94. USD the Baked Alaska gets my vote as cycling kit bargain of the year.

Ground Effect, New Zealand

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Cycling Gloves

My last pair of NOS leather gloves had finally gotten to skanky to wear, so I took advantage of the end of season sales and picked up the top of the line summer gloves from two high zoot makers: Assos and Etxeondo. I’ve put a few hundred miles on both gloves and have come to like them both for different reasons. Both gloves seem well made and don’t look any the worse for wear after some use and a couple of washings.

Temperature Regulation
You can see from the above photo that the Etxeondo Oinatz has a longer snot wipe then the Assos. Good for wiping, not so good in hot weather as it becomes uncomfortably hot under the wipe making the glove a poor choice for 80+ degree days. However when the temperature drops below 70 and a stiff breeze kicks up the wipe is perfectly positioned to act as a mini wind blocker. So the Etxeondo proved to be perfect for what most of the country would call fall and early spring conditions while the Assos gets the nod for hot weather performance.

Temperature F 60 65 70 75 80+
Assos Summer
Etxeondo Oinatz

The Assos has thicker padding, which for me would normally be a minus, but Assos has managed to position the padding in such a way as to get all the advantages of extra dense padding without it feeling like you are holding a pillow. In fact the padding is less obtrusive then the Etxeondo’s thinner padding. If you look at the photo the Assos glove has denser padding but less of it leaving much of the glove unpadded. They seem to have gotten the ergonomics of positioning the padding just right. Of course everyones hands are different so YMMV.

If I had to pick just one glove for South Florida it would be the Assos. But for cooler temperatures, especially when there is a stiff wind, the Etxeondo is more comfortable then going to a full finger glove. I’d looked at some of the current leather glove offerings but they just didn’t do it for me. Nothing looks as good as those old natural color leather gloves but nothing that I’ve used functions better in hot weather then the Assos Summer glove.

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Kidskin glovesThe grain kidskin still used in better leather work gloves used to be common in cycling gloves. It’s got a feel that modern materials can’t touch. After much use and abuse that natural suede like leather takes on a burnished patina like an old reliable work glove. It would be nice to see an updated version of the old standard in a modern glove.

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I’ve always been mystified as to why anyone would pay extra for a high end summer jersey and then order it in black. It’s like ordering your expensive ultra-light carbon fiber component wrapped in lead. Well it looks like high zoot textile and apparel manufacturer Ermenegildo Zegna has just created a wool fabric treatment that could answer the prayers of cycling’s fashion victims.

Zegna has just introduced it’s ‘High Performance Cool Effect’ wool. According to Zegna the ‘Cool Effect’ treatment enables the surface of dark fabrics to replicate the properties of white fabrics, reflecting 80% of direct sunlight, where they would normally only reflect 20%. The ‘Cool Effect’ treatment does not effect the fabrics handle.

Lanificio Zegna

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Carbon Fiber Toilet SeatFor the weight weenie who has everything, a carbon fiber toilet seat.

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leather cycling bags and brake hoods
Handcrafted leather bags, brake hoods and cycling accessories from the workshop of another skilled Japanese artisan.

Campagnolo and MAFAC leather brake hoods

MAFAC用 パッド (brake lever hoods)

サドルバッグ L (large saddlebag)

サドルバッグ Si (small saddlebag)

フロントバッグの製作 (Production of front randonneur style bag)

自転車用レザー用品 (more leather cycling accessories)

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